Team news ahead of Newport game
Neal Ardley says that Andy Barcham and James Shea are both in good shape to be back in AFC Wimbledon’s squad for the first time since 17 October.
That was the date of their last first-team game against Morecambe with Barcham (pictured) and Shea both ruled out since with knee and groin injuries respectively.
However, their recuperation has been managed carefully and both played in Monday night’s Final Third Development League match against Cambridge United.
Captain Barry Fuller is back available for the trip to Newport on Saturday after serving a one-match suspension, but Egli Kaja and David Fitzpatrick are both doubtful.
Speaking during an interview for Dons Player, Neal said: “Andy and James came through it and we did not just bring them back for a game and then give them a week’s training. They have been training for four weeks on purely pre-season work. Jason Moriarty has built them up and built them up. They had a week’s full training, then played a game, followed by another week of training. As far as I am concerned they are both totally up for selection.
“Egli and David have taken a couple of knocks after a bruising encounter on Monday and they have not been able to train. Other than those two, it’s all good.”
Neal added that it’s a big boost to have skipper Fuller back available again after a one-match ban for picking up five bookings.
“It’s never good to lose your captain,” Neal said. “It’s great to have Barry back because he is consistent and never lets you down. He has an unbelievable will to win that will be crucial to us during the Christmas period.”
Saturday’s opponents Newport have improved considerably since John Sheridan took over and Neal is looking forward to pitting his wits against a manager who previously revitalised Plymouth during a 2012/13 season when the Dons were also fighting relegation.
Every time we have played against one of his sides I feel that when we are on the attack they could cause us a problem at the other end. They always have an edge to them and play good football. I have watched their last few games and it’s so different to the team I saw in their first 10 games.” “The job he is doing is remarkable,” said Neal. “John always makes his teams a problem for you.
The full seven-minute interview with Neal Ardley is on Dons Player and an interview with Barry Fuller will feature shortly on our premium channel.